In 1584, when John Lyly
's reputation as a writer was perhaps at its height, Bar-nabe Riche wrote that Lyly 'can Court it with the best, and Scholler it with the most, in whom I know not whether I should more commende his maners or his learnyng, the one is so exquisite, the other so generall'.
In the same book in which John Lyly
famously said that all is fair in love and war, he also wrote, 'As the best wine doth make the sharpest vinegar, so the deepest love turneth to the deadliest hate.' Luckily for us, we're all drunk in love here.
The earliest known origin of the sentiment 'all is fair in love and war' is found in English writer John Lyly
's Euphues: The Anatomy of Wit, published in 1579.
gave the permission that 'all is fair in love and war.'
Oral customs provided 'an amorphous set of rules that might twist and change over time' and could 'mutate very quickly in new circumstances when it favoured the tenants.' (83) John Lyly
observed this in Gallathea, his comedy set on the floodplain of the Humber: Tityrus notes that 'Fortune, constant in nothing but inconstancy, did change her copy, as the people their custom'.
Even a figure like John Lyly
, often thought to have a coherent canon of work, a critically agreed generic category and a playwriting career dedicated to boy theater, in fact seems to have suffered from various forms of censorship, has a far more problematic relationship with genre than usually assumed and, crucially, wrote for various and variously defined groups of boy players.
(34) The summer 1589 publication of Mar-Martine, characterized today as a collaboration between John Lyly
and Thomas Nashe, which "blames the Marprelate tracts for lowering the bar and introducing theatrical license, here associated with the comic actor Richard Tarleton, into serious debate." Black, "Introduction," The Martin Marprelate Tracts, lxiii.
Detailed discussion of passages from William Shakespeare, John Lyly
, Ben Jonson, Thomas Middleton, and other early modern dramatists provides insights that illuminate Johnston's notable depiction of the dutifully submissive beardless boy--heroine, who parades herself as a pederastic boy in order to marry a bearded man to whom she has 'managed to establish her erotic subordination' (p.
Significantly, the earliest sources it provides for either use are Nicholas Udall's Apophthegmes (1542) and John Lyly
's Euphues (1578).
That is to say, the eccentricity that constitutes the subject and argument of Uncommon Tongues manifests in the primary texts that constitute Nicholson's archive of English style: John Lyly
's Euphues, Edmund Spenser's The Shepheardes Calendar, and Christopher Marlowe's Tamburlaine the Great.
In her illuminating treatment of contemporary responses to John Lyly
, for instance, Nicholson reminds us of Sir Philip Sidney's caustic remarks on the 'euphuistic' casting of 'sugar and spice upon every dish' (1) and his complaint that such 'straunge things cost too deere for my poore sprites'.